Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Twelve

Writer:  J. Michael Straczynski

Artist:  Chris Weston

Source:  Comixology

First Publication:  Volume 1-February 2012, Volume 2-October 2012

Collects issues 1-12

Graphic Novel Challenge #s 60-61

This two volume story showcases the perfect marriage of storytelling and art.  In the Marvel universe, an excavation project uncovers a group of 12 heroes in suspended animation under a German building.  It turns out that they were captured by the Germans at the end of World War II.  

The creative team shows how the heroes try to adapt to the modern world.  It is not what they thought it would be.  A murder occurs that unveils a mystery that drives the story. What secrets are the Twelve hiding?  Are they as “good” as they appear to be?  Is one of the Twelve really a killer?  Will any of them survive to try to fit into the modern world?  This series is one of my favorite reads of the year.  

Highly recommended.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Murder Me Dead

Creator:  David Lapham

Publisher:  Image Comics

Source:  NetGalley

First Publication:  August 2014

Graphic Novel Challenge #59

I have been on a streak of reading some excellent collections.  “Murder Me Dead” is another one of them.  David Lapham has made a name for himself working in the crime noir genre.  He uses the traditional tropes of the genre with a loser of a protagonist ( I will not call him a hero), a dangerous woman, a mystery, and violent crimes everywhere.  This would make an excellent mini-series on television.  I will not say anything else about the story because it would ruin it for anyone who has not read it yet.  Highly recommended.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Nightwing Vol. 5: Setting Son

Author:  Kyle Higgins

Artists:  Will Conrad, Cliff Richards, Russell 

Publisher:  DC Comics

Source:  NetGalley

First Publication:  December 2014

Collects:  Nightwing #s 25-29, Annual #1

Graphic Novel Challenge #58

The finale to Nightwing’s solo title was a good one.  I have been a fan of Kyle Higgins tenure on this title.  He has fleshed out the background of Dick Grayson, especially his life at the circus.  The main focus of this collection is a battle with the classic Bat-villain the Mad Hatter.  Nightwing becomes involved with trying to help a victim of the Hatter who suffers from multiple personalities.  A side effect of her mistreatment at the Hatter’s hands is that she is able to imitate any fighting style once she sees it.  Higgins uses it to show the emotional, mental, and physical struggles of this battle.  

Also included is a Nightwing Annual that shows Dick’s last day in Gotham as he leaves Babs Gordon behind. An epilog to the series is the final issue in the collection.  It is written by the team who are writing Grayson.  They use it to set the stage for that Dick Grayson/spy comic.  

Highly recommended.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Author/Artist:  Gabriel Hardman

Publisher:  Image Comics

Source:  NetGalley

First Publication:  November 2014

Collects  Kinski #s 1-6

Graphic Novel Challenge #57

The age old story of a man and his dog.  The only problem is how the man got the dog.  Most people would buy a puppy or adopt from a shelter.  Not in this case.  A salesman decides to "rescue" a dog from a neglectful family.  The "rescue" ends up turning into a crime drama.  Hardman does a good job of developing the character of the salesman.  Fans of character driven drama will love this collection.

Highly recommended.

I remember meeting Gabe Hardman at one of Comic Geek Speak's Super Shows.  I enjoyed his work for Marvel at that time on Hulk.  He turned out to be as nice in person as he is talented at the art table.  Since then, I have followed his career.  If you ever get the chance to see him and his amazing penciled pages at a convention, take the time to wait in line.  It is worth it.

Monday, November 3, 2014

E.G.O.s Volume 1

Author:  Stuart Moore

Artist:  Gus Storms

Publisher:  Image 

Source:  NetGalley

First Publication:  September 2014

Graphic Novel Challenge #56

Stuart Moore has written some titles in the past that I really liked so I thought I would give this one a try.  With DC Comics not currently publishing one of my favorites, the Legion of Super-Heroes, I was in the market for another future based team title.  E.G.O.s hit the mark.  

The basis is different enough, an aging super-hero rebuilds his former team with new heroes, that it did not seem like a simple rehashing of old stories.  The way Moore and Storms put  together this story it is fully fleshed out without slowing down the action.  The future technology, world building, characterization, mystery, and action combine to make one of the best titles of this year.

Highly recommended (especially for other fans of the Legion of Super-Heroes).  Now when are we going to see more of this title?

Saturday, November 1, 2014


Author:  Mark Millar

Artist:  Goran Parlov

Publisher:  Image

Source:  Comixology

Graphic Novel Challenge #55

In many cases, I find Mark Millar seems to favor violence and shock over characterization.  The way he writes “Starlight” shows a change in direction.  Hopefully, Millar continues down this path.  The violence is still evident at times but the characterization takes center stage.  The protagonist is the archetypical science fiction action hero.  He is cut from the same cloth as Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, Adam Strange, et al.  In this story he saved the alien world and returned to Earth to retire.  When he returns, no one believes him.  He is thought to be delusional.  Things continue to go downhill until the day when a spaceship appears at his house.  A young man, from the planet he saved in the past, is excited to find the legendary hero.  The alien world has been conquered by another race that is exploiting them.  The boy escaped and wants him to return to lead the revolt.  He decides to go since there is nothing left for him on Earth.  Millar does a masterful job of showing how an elderly, over the hill hero can still lead the good fight to save another world.  I do not want to reveal any more because this is a story that must be experienced.  

Highly recommended.

The Royals: Masters of War

Author:  Rob Williams

Artist:  Simon Coleby

Publisher:  DC

First Publication:  December 2014

Source:  NetGalley

Graphic Novel Challenge #54

Why does royalty only marry those of the royal blood?  In this fascinating alternate history we find out that it is because the royals are super-powered.  When they breed with other super powered people, it creates more people like them.  So the royals of this world agree to never use their powers in battle.  The will let the lesser people fight the wars.  The creators use this background to show how World War II would have gone.  Events go basically like it did in our world, until a British prince breaks the covenant.   He cannot tolerate seeing the British attacked by the Germans and puts an end to it.  This leads to all-out war between the royals.  The combination of storytelling and art is perfect for this one.  

Highly recommended.  It is one of my favorite reads of this year.